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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and is considered an autoimmune disease. The inflammations are caused by the attack of the body’s own immune cells on the myelin sheaths of neurons. By destroying or damaging the myelin sheaths, the nerve conduction function is impaired. The consequences range from visual disturbances to general weakness, fatigue, depression and limited mobility.

Causes and risk factors

It is suspected that certain gene variants increase the risk for MS. In addition, environmental factors and infections, such as glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis), have been named as triggers. Studies also showed that low vitamin D3 levels, severe obesity in early adulthood, and specific gut bacteria are also not to be underestimated as risk factors for MS. Therefore, science also assumes that MS is not caused by individual factors, but that several factors probably interact and that nutrition can play a significant role.

MS and the gut

Most neurologists recommend a varied and balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle for people with MS. An unhealthy diet leads to changes in the intestinal flora and thus increases the permeability of the intestine.

Which intestinal bacteria live in our gut largely depends on our dietary and lifestyle habits. Since our diet has changed considerably over the past decades and our eating habits have a direct influence on the individual composition of intestinal bacteria, dietary components could also play a relevant role in the development of MS.

A disturbed intestinal flora can lead to digestive problems and at the same time weaken the immune system. Colonization with many different bacteria in the intestine is therefore desirable. This ensures that the gut is well supplied and the intestinal cells are optimally nourished. For this reason, special attention should be paid to the gut and the diet should contain sufficient fiber.

MS and anti-inflammatory nutrition

Interest in potential “multiple sclerosis-specific diets” is growing: Among those being discussed are gluten-free, lactose-free, ketogenic or Paleo diets. However, it has not yet been proven that a special diet is beneficial or effective in the long term as part of the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Some diets may even be harmful because they contain potentially toxic amounts of certain vitamins or exclude important nutrients. A healthy diet rich in vital nutrients is important for everyone, but especially when well-being suffers, pain occurs, and mobility declines.

Therefore, the so-called Mediterranean diet is favored, which can be particularly useful due to its variety of important nutrients. It contains little unsaturated fats, which are found, for example, in meat and processed meat products. It is also rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, especially from fish and olive oil.

While the polyunsaturated fatty acids in marine fish, in combination with vitamin D, are valued for their anti-inflammatory effect, olive oil is of particular importance. Olive oil contains abundant phenols, especially oleocanthal, which has a protective effect on the nerves. It also inhibits the formation of the body’s own gamma-linolenic acid and the inflammatory arachidonic acid.

However, arachidonic acid is also found primarily in meat and sausage products. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid or severely restrict these foods. Red meat in small quantities (1-2 times a week) is quite acceptable and sensible. Red meat contains, in addition to the unfavorable arachidonic acid, significantly more vitamin B12 than can be found in white meat. Vitamin B 12 is important for cell division and blood formation and plays an important role in the production of myelin sheaths, which protect nerve cells and also support cell-to-cell signal transmission.

The diet should also contain as much natural, little processed fruit and vegetables as possible. This is because it contains a concentrated mixture of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, secondary plant substances) that can protect against inflammation by capturing free radicals and preventing the formation of inflammatory messengers.

MS and milk

Since the 1990s, it has been suspected that the frequency of MS symptoms could be related to the consumption of cow’s milk and cow’s milk products. Studies have now shown that cow’s milk contains proteins that cause inflammatory processes in some allergy sufferers and can also damage the myelin sheaths of nerve fibers.

Metabolic Balance and MS

Metabolic Balance is an anti-inflammatory diet that can strengthen the immune system by increasing the production of hormones that have a high anti-inflammatory effect and preventing the formation of inflammatory messengers. Despite taking medications such as corticosteroids and antidepressants, which are part of everyday life for many MS sufferers, a slow but steady weight loss is possible, which should definitely be aimed at in MS.

Regular meals, which cover the individual nutritional and fiber needs, are also part of the Metabolic Balance diet, as well as drinking enough water and resting periods.


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